Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


Chaucer's Vocabulary

The following is a list of Chaucerian words you should find helpful. They are arranged within their parts of speech.

 

Index

 

Nouns * Adjectives * Verbs * Adverbs * Conjunctions * Prepositions * Demonstratives


Last modified: Feb, 10, 2001
Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)


 

 

 

 

 

NOUNS

Middle English

Modern English

array

condition, arrangement

lust

pleasure, desire

bane

destruction, killer

lym

limb

boote

remedy

mete

food

conseil

counsel, advice

paas

slow walk, pace

deel

part, bit

rede

advice

degree

rank, social condition

routh

pity

devyse

trick, device

sleighte

trick

drede

doubt, fear

sooth

truth

ensample

example

vilenye

churlishness

estaat

condition in life, rank

viage

expedition, voyage

forward

agreement

werre

war

foule/fowel

bird

jape

joke, trick

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ADJECTIVES

Middle English

Modern English

certeyn

sure, certain

povre

poor

fer, ferrer, ferrest

far, farther, farthest

siker

certain, trusty

fetis

well made, graceful

verray

true

feyn

glad, willing

wode/wood

mad, crazy

gentle

noble

hye/heigh

high

ny, near, next

near, nearer, nearest

hende

handy, tricky, courteous

leef

dear

looth

hateful, loath

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VERBS

Middle English

Modern English

axe

ask

helpen, heelp/help, yholpe

help, cure

brenne

burn

lesen

lose

bresten, braste, ybrest

burst

reknen

to reckon

chesen, chees, ychose

choose

rennen, ran, yronne

run

clepen

call

rekne

reckon

deme(n)

judge, consider

wene

suppose, consider

dighten, dighte

prepare, adorn, equip

wedden

pledge, marry

duren

endure, last

wilnen

desire, want

fallen, fil/fel, yfalle

happen, befall

yeven/yiven, yaf, (y)yeven

give

gyen

guide, direct

witen, wot, wiste

know

highte

be called [also p.p of hoten, to promise]

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ADVERBS

*notice that many adverbs retain an old -s, -es genitive ending

Middle English

Modern English

after

according to

nedes

by necessity

agayns

towards

ones

once

agon

ago, long ago

overal

everywhere

atones

at once, immediately

owher

anywhere

ay

ever, forever

unethe(s)

hardly

blyve

quickly

there

where

certes

truly, certainly

yliche

alike

eft

again

yond

yonder

er

ere, before, earlier

whilom

once, formerly

erst

first, at first

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DEMONSTRATIVES

Middle English

Modern English

ech, iche

each

everich

each

everichon

every one

ilk

each

swich

such, some

thilke

the same, that same

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CONJUNCTIONS

Be aware that a number of Chaucer's conjunctions do not survive in Modern English, and those that do often have different meanings.

Middle English

Modern English

al

although, even if

for, for that

because

als, al so

as

for to

in order to

and, and if

if

other, outher

or

but, but if

if, unless

or... or

either... or

eek/eke

also

sin/syn

since

forthy

therefore

sithe(n)

since

forwhy

because

ther(as)

where

wher

whether; also used to introduce a question

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PREPOSITIONS

 

These are the most common Chaucerian prepositions that differ in form or meaning from Modern English.

Middle English

Modern English

after

according to. after

maugree

despite

agayn, agaynes

against, toward

of

by (when used as the agent of a passive)

at

of, from, at

atte

at the

thurgh

through

biforn

before

til

toward

bitwix, bitwinen

between

up

upon

fro

from

with

by (when used as agent of a passive)

inwith

within

withouten

without (also as an adverb "outside" )

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